Your rights if you sublet from someone
Subletting happens when an existing contract holder lets some or all of their home to another person who becomes the sub-holder. As a sub-holder you pay rent to the existing contract holder and they pay rent to their landlord, who’s called the ‘head landlord’.
If you live with your landlord and they haven’t given you a sub-contract, you’re likely to be a lodger. Lodgers have different rights to sub-holders - check what rights you have as a lodger.
If you want to leave
What you need to do depends on whether you have a fixed-term or periodic contract.
Getting repairs done
Your landlord is responsible for most major repairs in your home and making sure it’s safe to live in.
Generally, this means they're responsible for keeping in repair:
- the structure and exterior of your home, for example the walls, roof, foundations, drains, guttering and external pipes, windows and external doors
- basins, sinks, baths, toilets and their pipework
- water and gas pipes, electrical wiring, water tanks, boilers, radiators, gas fires, fitted electric fires or fitted heaters
Your landlord also has certain responsibilities for gas and electrical safety, furnishings and asbestos. For example - they must provide an annual gas safety check.
Your right to stay in your home
You have the right to stay in your home until your landlord gets a court order to evict you.
The legal process that your landlord has to follow to give you notice and to evict you depends on the type of agreement you have.
- check what to do if your private landlord asks you to leave your home
- check what to do if your council or housing association asks you to leave your home
If your landlord's contract ends
You won’t be responsible for any money your landlord owes, for example if they owe the head landlord rent.
Usually if your landlord has a fixed-term contract and it ends, your sub-contract also ends.
If your landlord has a periodic contract and it ends, your sub-contract doesn’t automatically end. Your periodic sub-contract only ends if you also get given an eviction notice.
Your contract can only carry on if the head landlord agrees:
- to let you stay as their contract holder
- to end your landlord's contract
- to move you from a fixed-term contract to a periodic contract
The head landlord lets you stay as their contract holder
If this happens, you'll sign a new written statement. The head landlord would become your direct landlord.
You might also be able to show that the head landlord has accepted you have a right to live in the property because they've accepted rent directly from you.
You can also show the head landlord accepted your right to live in the property if they knew about the unlawful subletting but they didn't do anything about it. For example, if they continued to accept rent from you. However, it may not always be easy to show that a landlord knew about the subletting.
The head landlord agrees to end your landlord’s contract
Surrender is an agreement between a landlord and a contract holder that the contract is given up. When a contract is surrendered, the landlord takes back the property subject to any rights and contracts or licences created by the outgoing tenant.
This means that if your landlord surrenders their contract, you would become the direct contract holder of the head landlord. In these circumstances, your contract would continue on the same terms as your existing agreement.
The head landlord agrees to move you from a fixed-term to a periodic contract
If you have a fixed-term sub-contract, the head landlord might agree to put you on a periodic contract instead.
When your landlord’s contract ends, the head landlord would become your direct landlord and you would be the only contract holder.